7) Troy’s Pick – First Reformed
First Reformed has been on my brain since I first watched it. Literally, the film ended and I knew it was going to be a Top 10 film for me. What irks me is that I’m still not quite at the point where I can pin down what it all means. The detractors want to say it’s not the film we need right now. The supporters will say that it’s the most earnest film about personal conviction made this decade. Honestly, I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Give it another decade and textbooks will call it one of the decade’s defining films.
7) Daniel’s Pick – Overlord
They had my interest at “soldiers vs. Nazi zombies in World War II”. All they had to do was deliver that on a modest budget with competent execution and my expectations would have been met. Overlord is so much more than that. Bless the exploitation gods for this bountiful feast they bestowed upon us!
From the harrowing parachuting sequence that opens the pictures to the balls-to-the-wall grindhouse glory of its finale, Overlord is the kind of rip-roaring action/horror hybrid that is far too rare these days. They really don’t make them like this anymore and it has everything to do with people not bothering to support such films. That’s right, I’m calling you out! Hollywood actually made a gore-soaked, monster-filled war flick where Wyatt Russell goes full Kurt on some evil Nazi punks and you were all too good to show up for it! That’s a real shame, because it’s one of the best movies of the year.
7) Mike Flynn’s Pick – Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson’s overdue follow-up from The Grand Budapest Hotel doubles as his equally anticipated return to animation after 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The result is a grand addition to his filmography and his first political film. Combining the likes of Kurosawa samurai yarn and dystopian sci-fi, its not-quite-futuristic Japan uses a health crisis-spurred ban on dogs to tackle the plight of Trump-era xenophobia and barbaric immigration policy.
The docile, neurotic canines of Isle of Dogs aren’t far removed from the heightened reality that Anderson’s best films come alive in. Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum play dogs almost exactly how you would imagine they would. Edward Norton, playing the anxious new resident of Trash Island, carries on the zany heart that Anderson found in the actor’s intensity in previous collaborations. The same applies to Bryan Cranston, an unlikely addition to the repertory as the weary resistance leader on the prison island.
Isle of Dogs succeeds on multiple levels—as allegory, adventure, and a love letter to Japanese culture and cinema. Most noteworthy, however, is the way it takes unexpectedly dark turns like most of Anderson’s films, but fans of The Royal Tenenbaums will sigh in relief at the end. If you’ve seen it, you probably know what I’m referring to.
7) Jamie’s Pick – The Outlaw King
Jamie likes Netflix. Jamie hates Netflix. Jamie and Spielberg connected on Friendster. Spielberg still won’t make Tintin 2, but the duo has a Girl’s Night to watch The Outlaw King.